The difference between B2B and B2C


I originally started this blog because I was having similar discussions with a number of different clients, Endava staff and friends outside of work, and wanted to share these discussions to a wider community. Recently I’ve been discussing the difference between B2B and B2C with many people, so I wanted to share the discussion here.

I’ll start with my original position – that on the Internet there is no difference between B2B and B2C experiences. I argued with people there is no longer a difference between B2B and B2C on the Internet, because the same people who used B2B websites during the day, switched over to B2C (consumer) websites during their lunchtime and evening, and wanted that B2C experience after their lunchtime had finished.

I gave a speech last February to 100 Financial Services organisations explaining that they needed to upgrade their websites to include the usability features that social networks provided – such as search boxes which have type-ahead functionality (e.g. the search box on Facebook). I gave an example that the night before the speech I paid a bill using my online banking service, and it took 6 screens to make a payment, compared to just one screen to send a message to someone on Facebook.

The old transactional website paradigm of a page per step in a long process, was great in the 1990s, unwelcome in the 2010s.

My position on this has changed though. B2B sites haven’t all died and been replaced with B2C. There are still differences between the two of them, but the usability has become the same. B2B sites have adopted the same user experiences. Old green screens are being replaced with iPad implementations because CIOs and CTOs have bought an iPad for home and said “this is the future”, and demanded the green screens receive funding for the first time in 40 years and become reengineered for 2012.

There are still differences between B2B and B2C, but the grey line between the two of them hasn’t moved – it’s just become a lot greyer.

Image courtesy of s_falkow on Flickr

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